i love my city…no really!

Yesterday’s posting seems to have garnered a lot of conversation.  A lot of it positive and a fair amount of it talking about my negativity about my home town and that I am a mean-spirited, nasty troll.

You can’t please everyone I guess.  I am who I am and once again, I’m not forcing anybody to read my blatherings here or elsewhere online (although there are a few people I’d seriously like to place in “Clockwork Orange” style eyegear)

  • I love the natural beauty of the city, including the harbour, Cootes’ Paradise, the escarpment and its many waterfalls, the hiking and biking trails that (almost) connect the whole length of the city, Gage Park, the mountain brow and the Beach Strip.
  • I love that the city has not turned its back on its industrial past, with the exception of the existing brownfield sites desparately needing environmental remediation, rehabilitation and redevelopment and Randall Reef, which is still an environmental embarassment.
  • I love the beautiful architecture of the city’s heritage structures, like the Pigott Building, The Hamilton Go Centre and St. Paul’s Presbyterian church.  And that buildings such as Hotel Hamilton and The Lister Block can find new lives, either through investment and restoration by enterprising businessmen with a healthy respect for history or after much outcry by the public to avoid a treasure being demolished.
  • I love that the city is willing to allow developers to seek alternative uses of heritage structures, such as turning them into parking lots after demolition by neglect and that things such as marble cladding of city structures makes a beautiful lining of drainage ditches in Ancaster.
  • I love that my city accepts people of all demographics and welcomes newcomers to the area.  The citizenry of Hamilton is a colourful mosaic of people from all cultures and economic levels.
  • I love the feeling of walking the downtown core on the last three days of the month, knowing full well that I will be asked for change, a cigarette or to pay for sexual favours.  Or counting the fact that I was only mugged for my bus pass once so far this year is a good thing.
  • I love the new businesses that are springing up throughout the city, showing the diversity of opportunity in the city.
  • I love that I have an incredible choice between which Tim Hortons, Money Mart or Payday Loan stores I can choose from on King St. between Wellington and Queen St.
  • I love the vibrant young business people that have brought fresh ideas and excitement to the economic base of our city.  Many of these businesses I support with my business and recommendations.
  • I love that while trying to engage some of these young entrepreneurs with my business as a potential client, once we got through the initial meetings and discussions, I heard nothing further from them.  This happening by a number of businesses reminded me to reinforce my committment to professionalism and follow through in addition to novelty and whimsy.
  • I love that these young entrepreneurs are supportive of each other and sometimes remind themselves that there are businesses and organizations that were here before them, laying the groundwork for their continued success and quietly working hard to continually improve their city through civic engagement and hard work.  I, too support these older businesses with my business and recommendations.
  • I love the vibrant and burgeoning online community that has grown in this city, creating a collective and ongoing conversation of what makes this city a wonderful place to live in.
  • I love that dissenting opinions are (sometimes) welcomed in this community and discussion is lively and (mostly) adult and constructive.
  • I love that this online community is being harvested by a publicly funded crown-corporation and serving up a small sampling of what is going on in the city, including what amount to advertorials for select companies.
  • I love that some of the coolest, most humble, intelligent and most supportive people I know, I’ve met through this online community.
  • I love that I can choose to walk, ride my bike or take public transit from my home to work and that at most my commute is 40 minutes (that’s usually using public transit too).
  • I love that one can predict how a bus will smell based on which route one chooses to take home.
  • I love that I know my neighbours by first names, we actually talk and have complete conversations when we meet on the street or elsewhere and that I could rely on them should the need arise.
  • I love that within a five minute walk from my home there are no less than five Tim Hortons’, including the first one ever!
  • I love that we exchange baking trays and baskets with our neighbours during the Christmas Holidays to sample each others’ baking and cooking.
  • I love that since the new landlord took over, the police are only at the apartment building at the end of my street once or twice a week, instead of multiple times a day.
  • I love that on beautiful evenings with gorgeous sunsets, I can play my acoustic guitar on my front porch and actually gather a crowd of people who will listen to my playing.
  • I love that we have the option to loan or rent our driveway or front lawns for people needing to park on Tiger Cat game days.
  • I love that I no longer have to worry about people parking in my driveway illegally and only have to hang outside my house on the Labour Day Classic to ensure drunks don’t use the side of my home as a urinal.

But most of all, I love that the city has welcomed me as a resident and that I have been able to eke out a niche for myself as a professional and artist.  I have much to thank the City of Hamilton for and, while it is not perfect, it is my home.  However there is a lot that still needs to change for it to be perfect and I aim to work with and support everyone who wants to get it there through actions and deeds beyond catchy slogans and t-shirts.

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